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The Family Mediation Blog

Mediators Needed in this Time which Tries Our Souls

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Mediators Needed in this Time which Tries Our Souls

by David Kellem

I am calling upon all Professional Mediators to deploy as a powerful peacemaking force in our current national crisis.  We can do so individually and collectively; in our homes, our families, our workplaces, our social media circles, our communities, and anywhere people need to talk about, learn about, think about, and turn-about the social injustice that affects us overtly as well as in subtle, insidious ways. 
Why are mediators suited to this calling?
We are skilled in helping people reflect on their conflicts.  We are trained to bring forward the unmined interests which divide people on the surface.  We are...

Mediator as Moral Witness – A Case Study

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Mediator as Moral Witness – A Case Study

by David A. Hoffman

A few months ago, I gave a talk on the subject of "Mediator as Moral Witness" to a group of mediators, and received a call the next day. One of the mediators who attended the talk had used the approach I recommended, and it worked!! Here’s a description of the mediation (with identifying
information disguised to protect privacy and the confidentiality of the process).

In the Worcester District Court, a mediator met with Sheldon and Rick, two former friends,one now suing the other. They had been friends for at least thirty years – they played poker together each week, and lived in the same neighborhood until two years ago, when Rick moved to Los Angeles. “I was sick of the New England winters,”...

‘Marriage Story’: A Valentine to Lawyers

Tuesday, March 31, 2020
marriage story attorney and client on bench.jpeg
Actresses Laura Dern (left) and Scarlett Johansson
from the film 'Marriage Story

"Marriage Story": A Valentine to Lawyers 

by Vicki L. Shemin, J.D., LICSW, ACSW 

Coming full circle, writer-director Noah Baumbach scores again in plumbing matters of the heart. 

Baumbach’s 2010 film “Greenberg” gave us the foretelling relational pretext, subtext and context in the unforgettable line, “Hurt people hurt people.”

“The Squid and the Whale” in 2005 unfolded the story of his parents’ divorce through the children’s perspective.

Now, in “Marriage Story,” we are bearing witness to Baumbach’...

Remote Mediation: A Viable Alternative During the COVID-19 Crisis

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Plus Size Model on Laptop - Photo by AllGo - An App For Plus Size People on UnsplashRemote Mediation: a Viable Alternative During the COVID-19 Crisis

by Justin L. Kelsey, Vice President of MCFM

If you have a court hearing scheduled in the next few weeks, most likely you've been told it's postponed.  While some hearings will be scheduled telephonically and by video conference, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely causing significant delays in obtaining a hearing and an order or judgment.  This is understandable as the court and the bar figure out how to adjust to this crisis. (For updates on the Massachusetts court's...

First Things First: The No-Nup Prenup

Monday, September 16, 2019

First Things First: The No-Nup Prenup 

by Vicki L. Shemin, J.D., LICSW, ACSW 

Remember the good ol’ days when two people met, fell in love, and got married? Nowadays, not so fast. Increasingly, couples are rehearsing the relationship before deciding whether to plan a rehearsal dinner. As marriage rates have fallen, the number of cohabiting relationships has continued to climb sharply.

As reported by the Pew Research Center, the number of Americans living with an unmarried partner reached about 18 million in 2016, up 900% over the last 50 years. To put a finer point on it, that equates to some 7.8 million couples living together without putting a ring on it - - 85% of whom will break-up by the end of 10 years. Equally compelling is the...

Twenty MCFM Members Presenting at a National Mediation Conference in Boston - Nov 7-9, 2019

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

MCFM is excited to announce its partnership with 2 national organizations, APFM (Academy of Professional Family Mediators) and ADFP (Association of Divorce Financial Planners), to present a BLOCKBUSTER conference in Boston, November 7-9, 2019

Numerous MCFM members will be presenting. Be sure to check out these workshops and help us spread the word:

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: What Makes People Tick: A Divorce Professional's Guide to Our Multiple Parts
David Hoffman (MCFM Member)
Friday, Nov. 8...

5 Reasons to Mediate Probate or Estate Situations

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

5 Reasons to Mediate Probate or Estate Situations

by Melinda Milberg, Esq.

     Imagine the following scenario - You are the son of an aging mother, who has begun to experience signs of dementia.  You and your brother both believe it is time for your mother to give up control over her own finances and want to talk with your sister about obtaining a conservatorship for your mother.  Your sister is reticent to pursue that course.  You believe that is because your mother has been very generous with your sister, giving your sister many cash gifts.  Your sister believes your mother is still able to manage herself, and also believes that you and your brother are trying to control your mother.  You are concerned about your mother...

Co-Parenting for Dummies… and Smarties, too! A Guide to Co-Parent Communications

Monday, January 7, 2019

carrying child sm.jpgCo-Parenting for Dummies… and Smarties, too!      

by Betsy Ross, LICSW, CGP

While it isn’t rocket science, it can be surprisingly difficult to communicate with the person you used to be married to. Old habits die hard and if you and s/he had a hard time listening to, not criticizing, or understanding each other before, chances are good that after divorce communications will also be a challenge. Add to this the residual feelings you might have about your marriage and what went wrong, coupled with the intensity of dealing with child related issues through and after divorce, managing all of the scheduling back and forth….well, you get the point----it just isn’t easy!!

As a family and...

The Alimony Reform Act: Lessons Learned in the Last Six Years

Friday, December 7, 2018
alimony letters sm.jpgThe Alimony Reform Act: Lessons Learned in the Last Six Years
The Alimony Reform Act of 2011 defined what alimony is and how it should work in much greater detail than the prior law.  The Alimony Reform Act, 2011 Mass. Acts ch. 124. However, it also left many questions unanswered. In the six years since the Act became effective, on March 1, 2012, the courts have slowly been further clarifying, and in some cases arguably undercutting, the Act.  In this article, we will summarize the provisions of the Act and note the court cases that...

This December Don’t Dread Divorces

Monday, November 12, 2018

This December Don’t Dread Divorces

by John Fiske

Thanks to the 2017 federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, (“TCAJA”), divorce lawyers and mediators know that December will be a busy time and some of us may be working right up to the bell on Monday, December 31st.   Under the TCAJA the alimony exclusion has been repealed for all separation agreements executed after this December (technically you could say the alimony exclusion is suspended, because the TCAJA repeal expires on December 31, 2025).
We can only imagine the conversations we will be having in December with clients who call us looking for a divorce and learn they have less than a month to write a separation agreement if they want to preserve the ability...